“Potbelly, high risk of hypertension, diabetes,” Group links.
By Elegbede Abiodun
An advocacy group, the National Action on Sugar Reduction, has cautioned Nigerians against the misconception that having potbellies is an indication of living a ‘good life’, noting that belly fat has been linked to an increased risk of hypertension, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
The advocacy group lamented that many Nigerians associate obesity with simply being chubby or fat, adding that people do not recognise that a build-up of abdominal fat, or a ‘pot belly’, amounts to obesity.
The group in a statement released by its secretary, Omei Bongos-Ikwue, noted that research showed that almost six million Nigerians suffer from hypertension due to obesity.
Bongos-Ikwue, who is also a public health expert, said the advocacy group has launched a campaign tagged; “BigBelleFitKillPerson” to target 47 million Nigerians with abdominal obesity.
The campaign featured striking visuals aimed at highlighting the health risks of abdominal obesity.
While stressing that obesity is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, the public health expert noted that increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is one of the major causes of obesity in Nigeria.
She added, “Many Nigerians associate obesity with simply being chubby or fat, and do not recognise that a buildup of abdominal fat, or a “potbelly,” amounts to obesity. This feeds into the common misconception that people with pot bellies are only living the “good life.”
“The #BigBelleFitKillPerson campaign dispels this myth by highlighting the health risks of abdominal obesity and its link to the consumption of sugary drinks. Large amounts of belly fat can raise the risk of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
“This campaign will help change public perception about what it means to be obese. Most Nigerians do not recognise that they may be at risk due to excess belly fat.
“The #BigBelleFitKillPerson campaign signals NASR’s continued commitment towards reducing sugary drinks consumption in Nigeria while promoting overall health awareness among its citizens.